Sunday, May 28, 2006

Pomp, Circumstance, Ringtones

Last night I attended the high school graduation ceremony of our library's awesome and brilliant evening page. Looking around the auditorium I also spotted lots of families who visit and bring their kids to our library. It was a nice reminder of the library's role in this really diverse, interesting community.

Of course, they bring not only their kids to the library, but they also bring their cell phones. Plenty of folks in this audience didn't forget to bring their cell phones along for this proud, once-in-a-lifetime occasion either.

While the school's principal was making some introductory remarks, the woman behind me was chatting away on her cell phone like she was just sitting in her kitchen. It wasn't an emergency, she wasn't describing the ceremony to a long-distance family member or friend, and she wasn't lonely at the ceremony by herself. There she sat in the middle of her family's row, just yammering away. I gritted my teeth and turned around just far enough to verify that she wasn't, in fact, carrying on an amazingly one-sided conversation with her mute second cousin. Nope, she was just chatting on the phone.

While I was waiting proudly for my friend to deliver her valedictory address and a song she had written for the occasion, I noticed a guy in the row in front of me messing with his cell phone. Another speaker was describing the hard work and sacrifice the graduates and their families had made to get to this ceremony, but this guy couldn't sacrifice a few minutes away from checking his messages and fooling with his ring tone menu.

After my friend's speech and her really beautiful song, the graduates walked across the stage to receive their diplomas. The school encouraged small groups of family members to come on stage to walk with their graduates and have their pictures taken. For audience members so inclined, this was a fascinating opportunity to people-watch. It was a hundred times more interesting than an evening of television to observe these families in their proud moment, make note of their unique family resemblances, and check out their unusual fashion choices. I also tried to keep myself from counting the number of cell phones strapped to the waistbands of the family celebrants.

Thanks to a rare instance of karmic justice in the universe, somehow nobody's phone actually went off on stage, and nobody made or answered a call while escorting a daughter or sister or grandson to the diploma table. Once they exited stage right and walked back down the aisles to their seats it was, unfortunately, a different story. I know there was a Detroit-Miami basketball game to check the score of, and it's critical to coordinate post-graduation party plans or decide who's driving who to church tomorrow. I just hope, for the sake of this country's future, that fewer people are using their cell phones during their actual high school classes than during the high school graduation ceremonies.


Blogger jaime said...

Not to kill any hopes but my last cell phone bill had 1847 min of texting used by my two oldest boys ....all of which were while they were at school

9:44 PM  
Blogger Electric Belle said...

You are very kind. Thanks for the nice things you've said about me.

12:03 AM  

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